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Tired Indigo pilot refuses to fly aircraft

Passengers stage protest at Patna airport

Gulf News

Patna: Dozens of passengers aboard an Indigo flight were left high and dry on Friday night after the pilot refused to fly the plane saying he was too tired, prompting the passengers to stage a sit-in at the airport.

The bizarre incident took place at the local Jay Prakash Narayan International Airport in Patna on Friday night.

Reports said the passengers waiting at the airport for long were ready for boarding the New Delhi-bound Indigo flight late last evening when pilot suddenly withdrew from duty saying he was too tired.

The announcement led to chaotic scene at the airport as angry passengers shouted slogans against the company and later staged a sit-in in front of the boarding gate.

Such was the panic gripping the company officials and staffs that they hurriedly removed their I-Cards fearing an attack.

The situation didn’t improve even though the security personnel requested the passengers to maintain calm.

Taking stock of the situation, the Indigo dispatched new crew members to Patna from Delhi from an Air India flight but poor visibility continued to play spoilsport, delaying the flight for many hours.

Authorities said 31 out of the total 34 scheduled flights were delayed on Friday owing to poor visibility caused by heavy blanket of fog.

The airlines require a minimum visibility of 1,200 meters to operate flight given the encumbrance at the Patna airport. But the visibility was far below the minimum requirement much to the inconvenience of the passengers leaving them stranded at the airport.

Authorities said the Patna Airport would undergo a complete metamorphosis in the next four years now that the Union Cabinet has granted approval for swapping of land between Bihar government and the Airport Authority of India (AAI) for expansion.

As part of expansion, new terminal building, elevated road for exit, multi-level parking and six aerobridges would be constructed at the cost of Rs74 billion.

The new terminal building will be having a capacity of 3 million passengers per annum which will not only enhance the airport capacity but also provide convenience to general public.

The existing terminal building at Patna Airport was built for a capacity of 0.5 million passengers per annum, against which 1.5 million passengers per annum are already using the airport. This has led to extreme crowding in the terminal.

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